Some of you know that I've had some pretty big life changes occur over the past year. I’ve done a lot of self-discovery this year and part of that has been through spending time by myself. In my hometown of Austin, this has looked like staying in some Friday nights in my cute little Tarrytown bungalow and enjoying a movie. It’s looked like spending time going on long walks with my dog around the lake. It’s also meant lots of coffee shops, journaling, and reading. But one thing I’ve been super excited about has been the ability to travel alone. I know...WHAT? Taylor. You’re a 24-year-old girl who’s barely over 5’3”. Traveling alone probably isn’t the best idea: especially in today’s crazy world!
Well, I beg to differ! For all intents and purposes, I lived alone in Peru for 3 months the summer between high school and college and it was one of the single most transformative experiences of my life. Jumping in and experiencing the Peruvian culture as a local was a much-needed shock to my American system. I loved the diversity I saw, the deep history, and trying new foods! On top of this, I’ve flown on some odd 30 airplanes alone. I’ve driven across the U.S. alone -- twice now, actually. And what I’ve realized is that traveling alone is just a simply amazing experience.
Why, you ask? Well...honestly...because you get to be selfish and you get to grow! Want to spend your entire vacation sipping pina coladas and reading on a beach without being bothered? Done. Want to go adventure 14 hours of the day in the great outdoors? Go for it. Want to not speak to a soul on top of a mountain all day? Want to stay in a luxury hotel? Want to stay in your car? You can. You get to do you. And for this trip to Ireland, I’m doing me. I’m someone who loves meeting new people out at local bars and hearing their stories over a warm dinner or glass of wine, but am an introvert at heart, and loves a quiet night by the fire reading as well. So...I’m doing both!
In true “The Holiday” fashion, I am taking off for an adventure around Ireland for New Years and couldn’t be more excited. I decided upon going to Ireland because I follow an amazing blog called Scott’s Cheap Flights, a newsletter where “Scott” emails you any time there are really cheap fares or mistake fares from the United States to different international locations. I first bought a ticket due to Scott’s blog after an email advertising Dallas to Paris round trip fares for ~$400. I was sold -- AND I talked my mom into letting me take my little sister, 15, to Paris for her Spring Break next year (March 2018)!
I then got another an email which advertised airfare from Austin - Iceland or Austin - Ireland over Thanksgiving/New Year's for $400-500, and I automatically started searching for the cheapest fares I could find. After looking into my PTO, I decided I could afford to go over a holiday due to having a few extra days off. And since Thanksgiving = family time...New Year’s it was!
My plan for Ireland is to spend the first few nights (including New Year's Eve!) in Dublin, then rent a car (on the other side of the road -- yikes!) and travel South to Cork, West to the Dingle Peninsula, then Northwest to the Cliffs of Moher and lastly to Galway. I would love any recommendations of favorite restaurants or sights to see!
I will be posting some blogs afterwards about: 1) How to travel internationally on a budget and 2) A Week-Long Ireland Travel Guide (with all the pictures, of course!) and maybe a few others if requested :)
Can’t wait to share my experience with all of you. Until then,